Pros: Washes clothes better less water, energy, cleaners, wash almost anything any size
Cons: Price ; technology so new that retail distributors are often clueless about it.
This is my first front-loading washer. I have the 9100 (without a heater, and not blue plastic in front, mine is beige). We bought it last fall at our Lowes, on sale $799, and also bought 5 additional years of warranty service, something I never usually do, but if I am laying out this kind of money on a washer, I expect it to be used for at least 6, and hopefully 16-26, years, ya know? IMO, 1-year warranty is too short, but the good old days are gone and few long warranties anywhere nowadays.
We used to use Maytags, but I heard that the Neptune model has been fraught with bugs. Whirlpools and Kenmores are top-rated in front loaders.
My hubby vetoed the model with built-in heater, saying we keep our water heater hot anyway, and if we needed to, we can turn it up for special washings. Sounded good to me to save $300. We use liquid Clorox on most things, too.
Anyway, we do about 10 loads a week and love the Duet so far. I will try to explain why.
First, you can really pile in stuff to the max. This cuts down on loads and time.
Second, you can wash just about anything in it. A big plus for me was being able to wash my daughter's satin dance/drill uniform and costumes instead of weekly dry cleanings. Also, pillows, blankets, comforters, sleeping bags, stuffed animals --- no problemo. Also, I wash alot of material for sewing, and it comes out so nice, much better than with my old machine. I can fit a 6 yard piece of fabric in, no prob. Even a 10 yeard piece. Try that around and around in a tub washer - NOT.
Third, the items come out damp not wet, and very little wrinkling if any. The clothes smell better and feel cleaner. For some strange reason, they dry better, and I still have my old dryer (it won't die so I can get a Duet dryer, darnit).
Fourth, excellent video, manual and controls.
Fifth, it doesn't walk because it cannot get out of balance. My old washer did this constantly, especially when dear daughter did her laundry. The side wall of my laundry room loves the Duet!
Sixth, the water, detergent and energy conservation all add up over time. Day to day, this doesn't really impact me, but I know it will eventually.
Seventh, new technology, something that laundry has needed. I think there is something to the way it washes clothes drum-style, better than the old-style front-loader with the tub. I don't know, my laundry is just better now. Haven't changed detergents or anything, just washers.
Eighth, it's really cool to have the washer top surface clear and unencumbered by controls and dials. I put an old terrycloth towel down on mine to catch all bleach and detergent drips, and so that my laundry basket can sit without moving. But you could also use it as a handy folding surface or for whatever. Never thought about it before, but it's a neat asset. And once I get a matching dryer, man, that's a lotta new space to have!
Now, shortterm downsides: if this is like me your first adventure with a front-loader and a high efficiency washer, you are in for a little learning curve.
It took us a couple of days of constantly consulting the manual to make sure we were handling every part right and adding detergent correctly. It goes into a Suds mode if you add too much detergent, and if you like me have a huge jug of Tide liquid still left and not ready to buy some special detergent yet, you have to cut your amount to about 1/4. This is a psychological problem only, not believing that little amount will clean all that, but it does.
You can't or not supposed to add dry bleach powder and liquid detergent (well, I'm sprinkling some watered down Oxy into my liquid Tide sometimes, when I don't want to use liquid Clorox, and it hasn't yelled at me yet). Anyway, once I start replacing the cleaners I already have, I will stick to all dry or all liquid.
The detergent tray is sort of a hassle at first, but it's much better now. At first, it was retaining a lot of water, enough to have to pull it out and carry it gingerly to the kitchen sink and take out the bleach and detergent slot trays and dump out the water. Now, though, it doesn't collect water any more, so if it's magic, I'm a believer.
Also, the door only opens to the left. In my case, no problem. But, tip: it's nice to not have the washer right up against a wall to its left. The detergent tray is on the left, and it's awkward when pouring in your cleaners if you do have some space to the left. I could take the tray out and add my cleaners, but I found a little cup just the right size that I now use, so it's not making me go postal or anything.
If you have arthritis or back probs, look into getting the stand or building your own. I keep a long wooden back scratcher handy and a Gopher, to help me get everything out without killing my back and neck. My old front-loader hurt me when I pulled clothes up and out, so I'm not any worse off. That would just make it perfect for me. If you don't have knee probs, then squatting puts you at the right height without a stand. Oh, and since the clothes come out less wet, they are lighter and easier to pull out to the dryer. And, you can put a rectangle or square basket down in front of the door and just pull all your load out into it, then move to the dryer, so it is a net gain for me, arthritis-wise.
Hey, I'm really stretching here to come up with cons, all in all it's a cool, well-made product. I would advise that you thoroughly analyze what you want to do with a washer before buying. If laundering unconventional things and saving money on cleaners, energy and time are big demands, this is a great product for you. But, if these things are not important to you, then it's too expensive to justify it, IMO. We are pretty frugal, and I am glad we bought it.
My only problem or question I have is if I can use Ritz dyes to color clothing like I could in my old washer. I'll call Whirlpool and ask, but with a stainless steel drum, I would think I could. I just don't know how to add the dye and vinegar, etc. Will have to figure it all out.